Wednesday roundup: Viewer anger over logos, KCRW premieres new site


• The logo wars won't go away. CPB ombud Joel Kaplan has written his second column addressing the size and placement of pubTV station logos, a pet peeve for two angry viewers. A West Palm Beach viewer who objects to the station bug appearing on WXEL-TV wrote to Kaplan to report that the station hasn't changed its practice since the ombud's last column. Meanwhile, a California viewer of KVIE and KQED, Jesse Skeen, filed a separate complaint with the ombud.

Skeen insists any placement of a station's logo on screen is unacceptable: "There should be NOTHING on the screen during a program except the program itself," Skeen wrote. "Anyone who does not understand this should simply not be allowed to control what goes out over the allegedly 'public' airwaves."

KVIE President David Lowe acknowledged to the ombud that Skeen's complaints are well known to him and his staff; he goes on to allege that Skeen may have resorted to personal attacks to make his point. Lowe suspects that Skeen posted a mean-spirited comment on a YouTube video in which Lowe appeared. The comment, posted under an anonymous handle, "wished testicular cancer upon me for running a station that used bugs."

Kaplan concludes that complaints about on-screen logos no longer warrant his scrutiny. "[T]his is one of those intractable situations that probably can never be resolved to everyone's satisfaction," he writes.

• Los Angeles's KCRW unveiled its new website this week as it celebrated the groundbreaking for its new 35,000-square-foot Santa Monica studio. The station released a promo video featuring guest appearances from Jack Black, who listens to himself while being interviewed on Elvis Mitchell's KCRW show, and David Lynch.

CPB's latest RFP, posted Monday, seeks a consultant to review the five CPB-funded organizations that comprise the National Minority Consortia, to "evaluate the effectiveness of the NMC's current model of operation" and provide recommendations to increase its "efficiency and impact." Last June, CPB asked the NMC to work collaboratively to reduce high overhead costs among the five organizations, and floated the idea of a merger.

Correction: An incorrect version of the KVIE logo was removed from this post.
  • Jesse Skeen

    I was not behind any “personal attacks” or “mean-spirited comments” that were posted, and frankly I object to being publicly accused of this with my name mentioned on two websites (this one and the CPB Ombudsman.) I ask that these allegations please be removed. I do stand behind the statement quoted from me, and find it extremely depressing that Mr. Kaplan would rather drop the subject entirely than pursue it any further. It is clear that several viewers object to the practice of using constant onscreen logos, but those who advocate their use are unwilling to consider any arguments against them and in this case (particularly with WXEL’s general manager, whose response to the other viewer’s complaint prompted my writing in the first place) take any criticism of them personally. They seem to have forgotten just who it is they are serving, and while they have given reasons for using constant logos they have not provided any concrete evidence that they have had the desired effects- but there is sufficient evidence that there are viewers who object to them.

    • MarkJeffries

      The barn door opened and the horses left a long time ago. It’s been 25 years since American television stations and networks started using logo bugs and a lot longer than that in the rest of the world. They’re not going away any time soon and most viewers don’t even notice them anymore. Get off your high horse and start devoting your energy to something more valuable to our society than logo bugs on TV–how about the environment or education?

      • Jesse Skeen

        That’s just it- by now most people DON’T EVEN NOTICE THEM. Those who do notice them either ignore them, or in my case are too irritated by them to bother watching. Yet those who advocate them continue claim they promote “brand awareness” and such, though to date they have not provided one shred of evidence that they’ve had the desired effect on anybody, cannot tell us a single thing they have GAINED from doing this, nor refute the fact that they distract from the shows. Most of the newer networks that are doing it now only do it “because everybody else does.” However the “Movies!” network does not use one, neither does “Antenna TV” although some of its local affiliates use their own bug. Most of the local (commercial) stations in my area also do not use bugs on their local programming, though it seems now that every PBS station does. I had heard some PBS stations in the late 90s had started using bugs, lost donating members as a result and thus stopped, but in the past ten or so years I have not seen a PBS station that did not use one. Considering I grew up with PBS as the one place on TV that usually operated with common sense and respect for its viewers and content, this is very depressing. (Meanwhile I’ve heard that over 50% of people who still watch TV are also doing something else, such as surfing online and such, at the same time, and NOT devoting their attention entirely to what they are tuned in to. I think that speaks for itself.)
        Regardless of how much longer this continues, I will NEVER accept it and will continue to voice my disapproval of it. Those who have stopped complaining have simply given up due to the persistence and arrogance of the industry in general. If you read the CPB Ombudsman posts referenced here, you will see that I am not the only person upset about this, even if few bother to say so anymore.